11/01/12 — Former educator dies at 87

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Former educator dies at 87

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 1, 2012 1:46 PM

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Neal Stitt

Neal Stitt, among the first black teachers at Goldsboro High School during integration, who also served on the city schools Board of Education, died early today after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

He was 87.

Stitt was a life member of Goldsboro-Wayne branch of the NAACP since the local movement began in 1945.

A native of Sanford, his family moved to Goldsboro in 1930. He was valedictorian of his graduating class in 1942 and received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Augustine's College in Raleigh and a master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

He was a music and business education teacher at Goldsboro High. His 33 years of teaching included two years as a principal in the city schools.

He served on the school board for Goldsboro City Schools for 12 years, 1981-1993, two as chairman, and was on the interim board when the county and city boards merged.

Stitt also brought together interdenominational singers to perform "The Messiah" at Christmastime for more than 25 years.

A successor to Professor Hugh Victor Brown, who had the vision to bring alumni together on an annual basis, Stitt served as a charter member and executive secretary/treasurer for many years of the Dillard-Goldsboro Alumni & Friends. He was part of a team that wrote the first alumni constitution, assisting to receive a charter from the state and to gain federal status as a non-profit organization.

Under his leadership, four out-of-state chapters were formed, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

In recent years, he helped found the Advocates of Goldsboro and Wayne County, formed in 2000 to keep a proactive watch on issues and actions affecting Wayne County.

On Oct. 14, Dillard-Goldsboro Alumni & Friends Inc. honored Stitt at a ceremony of appellation for the naming and dedication of the Neal A. Stitt Building, formerly the North Building at H.V. Brown Cultural Center on Poplar Street.

Dorothy Hardy has worked with Stitt in many capacities over the years, including being a former student.

"He was my teacher at Dillard High School," she said this morning. "He taught me how to type."

Calling him an honorable man who readily gave of his time and talents, Ms. Hardy said Stitt's health had rapidly declined since learning he had cancer about a month and a half ago.

"Once he was diagnosed that's when I knew we needed to go on and do the dedication (of the building in his name)," she said. "I'm so happy that we went on and did it."

Ms. Hardy said she worked on a guest book for everyone to sign at the dedication, and many also added comments.

"When I took him the book, he was just so elated that so many people thought so highly of him," she said. "I guess he just didn't realize how much people cared about him."

Local dentist Dr. Elbert Johnson became national president of the alumni association this past spring, succeeding Stitt, who had served in the role briefly.

"He's been a visionary, sort of a role model as well as a mentor," he said. "He's kind of one of the living legends of the Goldsboro-Dillard Alumni & Friends."

Funeral arrangements are incomplete and are being handled by Hamilton Funeral Home.